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Old 30-04-12, 19:08   #1
The Enigma
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Default Epic 6-Year File-Sharing Case Over Just 3 Songs Comes To An End

Epic 6-Year File-Sharing Case Over Just 3 Songs Comes To An End

by enigmax

A file-sharing prosecution that has been dragging on for six long years has finally come to an end. The original complaint, filed by the Portuguese Phonographic Association in 2006, targeted a then 17-year-old. Now 23, their target has just received a suspended jail sentence and a fine of 880 euros. None of this has helped the country’s music industry – physical product sales nosedived more than 34% last year.

When the Portuguese arm of IFPI first decided to bring file-sharing prosecutions to the country, their aims would have been simple – to scare Internet users away from file-sharing networks and into the shops. It didn’t work out that way.

Since 2006, the Portuguese Phonographic Association filed more than two dozen cases with the Attorney General’s Office. Only two bore any fruit at all – one in 2008 and another just over a week ago having dragged on for an epic six years.

The case was brought against a then 17-year-old teenager who allegedly shared hundreds of songs online without permission. However, for “technical and procedural reasons” (read: lack of evidence), those claims were reduced massively and in the end it was decided he shared just three, a pair from local artists and ‘Right Through You’ by Alanis Morrisette.

Now, the Lisbon Criminal Court has finally delivered its ruling in the case. For violating copyright, the now 23-year-old received a two month suspended jail sentence. The Court decided that since the man was just 17 at the time of the offense and has a completely clean record, the sentence should be changed to a fine of 880 euros – 640 euros plus 4 euros in lieu of each day not served in prison.

After having made 40 similar complaints against file-sharers since 2006, the Portuguese Phonographic Association says it will now give up on the strategy.

“At the time, it was believed that, in fact, through the application of existing law we could begin to control the problem of Internet piracy,” said Association president Eduardo Simoes.

Current legal framework, Simoes added, can not cope with online file-sharing. Inevitably he is calling on the government to introduce new laws that do away with prolonged prosecution periods that reduce the deterrent effects of bringing cases to trial. What the Association wants is a “3 strikes” style arrangement whereby file-sharers are sent escalating warnings and eventually punished.

As the local branch of IFPI, the Portuguese Phonographic Association controls 95% of recorded music in Portugal but it is currently facing a crisis. The Association reports that in the last decade profits have dropped by 80%, and in 2011 sales of physical products nose-dived 34.4%.

Interestingly, in addition to blaming the piracy bogeyman and the economic crisis for these reductions in sales, Simoes also cites an undeveloped digital offering and artists’ growing tendency to self-publish as additional factors compounding the problem.

Despite the apparent lack of legal support, Portugal’s movie industry say they are working hard to reduce piracy by other means. According the MPA-backed FEVIP, they shut down 302 local sites offering pirate material during 2011.

Here's another clue on how the copywrong industry is trying to fight normal human actions. The idea that sharing is illegal. If you took that to the real world, it would make even less sense and qualifies for that as it does bleed over.

It goes deeper than just trying to fight human nature. Behind the scenes it shows a greedy industry that isn't willing to adapt to the times but rather has followed the same actions that many other gatekeepers have done in past history. Didn't work for them in the past, won't work for them now.

The issue of file sharing has many layers to it. One of the main ones is that if the legal avenues for getting copyright works met the customers expectations, there would be no piracy on large scale. Nature arbores a vacuum and so does the marketplace.

The reason piracy does as well as it does, is it meets the individual's expectations. No restrictions on the material, easy availability, decent price, and choice. What is being said in that statement is that pirates have a better marketplace model that meets the customer's expectations.

The music industry is coming back in profits, just not fast. The heydays are over with because of greed from the labels and changing economic and societal pressures. In the past, every time the big music wanted a big payday, they changed formats. No different today other than since digital, it isn't working out like they thought. It seemed like the answer to make a bundle. No having to have some sort of physical container to put the music in, just sell it as digits. No one needs to haul digits from point to point. No one needs big warehouses all over the world to store digital. In the end they saw it as a way to make a killing and take a big slice out of expenses (read kill jobs in this one for when you see the next puff piece).

What they didn't plan on, was the customer expected to see a price drop on the goods that wasn't forth coming. The idea you had to buy that whole album for that one song, was the equivalent of charging $15 for a song. Digital upset the market.

With digital people could cut out the BS and get just that one good song. Suddenly the market returned to the days of vinyl and the 45; the single song driven market.

With that came the killing of the CD market as big music was setting up for the big payday that didn't arrive. What big music didn't plan on is that they have lost customer good will. Customers are now turning to other forms of entertainment that shuts out big music.

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